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Tour shows off healthy homes

Nicole Frey
Bret Hartman/Daily file photoTom Luby of Eagle has a green home " which means enviornmentally friendly " and has been building them for 30 years.
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EAGLE COUNTY ” For centuries it’s made sense to build a home near water, but one man in Singletree has built his house over water with amazing results.

John Heilman, with the help of Morter Architects, designed his home over a creek, and ended up with a natural air conditioner in the summer time. In the winter the creek dries up, so it doesn’t add to Heilman’s heating costs.

Heilman’s home will be one of about seven homes and business that will be featured in the 2006 Healthy Homes Tour. Hosted by the Vail Symposium and Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability, the tour will show people the environmentally friendly and sustainable aspects of these buildings.

“It’s a way to highlight opportunities that people are missing in their homes,” said Matt Scherr, executive director of the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability.

Everyone on the tour will receive a guidebook of sites and a glossary to help dissect complicated environmental and building terms. There will be a tour guide at each building to point out the structure’s highlights.

The public is also invited to attend the free Healthy Homes Expo, which will showcase energy-efficient and environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, paint, windows, insulation and more.

And with Eagle County’s recent implementation of a green building code, it’s in people’s best interest to know what their options are.

“I think this is just our future, the future of every building,” said Fraidy Aber, executive director of the Vail Symposium. “I don’t think it’s really much of a question.”

A similar event was hosted in the Vail Valley three or four years ago, Scherr said, but new collaborations and social views will make this year’s tour more successful.

“Before there was the idea of green houses being hobbit houses or space houses,” he said. “Now, people are beginning to realize it’s about lifestyle, not about giving up anything.”

The finished houses people will visit will be unrecognizable from today’s energy guzzling homes. So a few unfinished homes and businesses have been added to the mix to show people what happens behind the scenes.

Buildings will showcase innovative types of insulation, landscaping, solar energy, heating, framing and windows.

The tour will also include one school, the Vail Christian High School in Edwards, which features abundant natural light. Scherr said educators used to believe windows would distract students but now realize it helps them learn.

“We’re not advocating being green just for the sake of being green,” Scherr said. “We’re saying go green because it’s healthy and because it makes economic sense. It’s going to save you money.”

Holy Cross offers free energy audits for account holders. An audit helps determine where a home is leaking heat or wasting energy. Call 949-5892 and ask for the energy auditors for more information.

Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 748-2927 or nfrey@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado


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